Straw hat out of season

the Riot of 1922

In the Binghamton (NY) Press on May 1, 1923, page 5, was a story titled Wears A Straw Hat Despite Closed Season. The subtitle: Bold young man braves chilly weather by parading in summer regalia, anticipating official date by 14 days.

“Although the roll call at the State [mental] hospital last night shows no one was absent, persons on Chenango street who were trying to keep warm by slapping their hands to their sides and turning up their coat collars, doubted the sanity of the man who appeared among them…

“Two young men of an inquisitive nature trailed the young man wearing that thatched covering…

“He was wearing clothing of light material, a white shirt and collar,  silk socks, and Oxford shoes.”

I wonder if he used Elkay’s Straw Hat Cleaner, which “makes the old straw hat look like new.” Back in 1914, a season’s supply went for 19 cents.

Michael J. Leo at 79 Court Street had a “clearaway” of its silk and straw hats, regularly $4.95 to $6.95, selling for only $3.95 in 1925.


Walter Ayres provided the graphic and pointed to a Wikipedia story about the Straw Hat Riot.

“The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 was a riot that occurred in New York City at the end of the summer as a result of unwritten rules in men’s fashions at the time, and a tradition of taunting people who had failed to stop wearing straw hats after autumn began. Originating as a series of minor riots, it spread due to men wearing straw hats past the unofficial date that was deemed socially acceptable, September 15. It lasted eight days, leading to many arrests and some injuries.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not also noted the event. “Men who continued wearing straw hats after September 15 were mocked for their fashion faux pas. It was so common for a young passerby to forcibly remove a hat from someone’s head and crush it with his foot that newspapers cautioned people when September 15 was approaching.”

This hurts my non-straw-hatted head.

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